Motorola Xoom Is $800 with Locked Wi-Fi. Wait, What?
The rumors are true. The Motorola Xoom, the Honeycomb Android tablet that is expected to go toe-to-toe with the iPad, will be hobbled with a huge price tag and an unexpected headache: The Wi-Fi is locked.
Oh, and it turns out the Super Bowl commercial that was supposed to be a jab at Apple wasn't all that inflammatory, either (see above).
A leaked Best Buy ad revealed that rumors of a high price tag are true. The Motorola Xoom will be $800. By contrast, the 3G iPad that comes with twice as much storage is only $30 more. And to top it off, Apple still has many of cheaper models available starting at just $500, whereas there is only one choice if you want the Xoom.
Motorola and Verizon have also discovered a way to add insult to injury. The fine print on the Best Buy ad reveals that Wi-Fi access with the device is locked down until the user purchases a minimum of one month of data subscription. That means those who wanted to get the Xoom free of contract and just use Wi-Fi will be forced to sign up for 3G.
To be fair, the Motorola Xoom is quite a powerful piece of hardware for a tablet. It has a dual-core processor, built-in NVIDIA graphics processing, 1 GB of RAM, HD video recording and the ability to upgrade to 4G. But we can also expect the equivalent of most of these features to show up in the iPad 2 , which should get an official announcement in a matter of weeks.
There's still hope. Motorola has mentioned plans to create a Wi-Fi-only version of the Xoom, which would presumably be cheaper. But there is no information on when it would be available. And it's also possible Verizon might have subsidies for those who sign two-year contracts for data, but there's also no official word on that.
The Best Buy ad also revealed several other details. It confirmed the Feb. 24 launch date as well as the rates for data usage: $20 per month for 1 GB and up to $80 per month for 10 GB.